England vs. Sri Lanka – Day 2

TLG is now off on his travels and LCL is preparing for his holiday, so I’m afraid you’re stuck with me tonight!

Day 2 started off as looking like it could be a close contest, but the mid-afternoon gloom, always a decisive factor at Headingley, combined with some great bowling from Anderson and Broad means there is a very real chance that this could be a 3 day Test. Whilst we shouldn’t take anything away from the English bowling this afternoon, it was a pretty meek surrender by an admittedly inexperienced Sri-Lankan batting line up in alien conditions.

I thought Sri-Lanka bowled well in the morning aided by the odd brain fart by the English batsmen. Chameera looks a real prospect having bowled extremely well in New Zealand over the winter and again deserved his wickets today and Pradeep whilst not being incredibly incisive, managed to keep a lid on the run rate. They’re not the world-beaters that Sanath Jayasuriya proclaimed them to be, but in helpful conditions they’re not a popgun attack either.

The fact that we got to nearly 300 is mainly down to the exploits of Jonny Bairstow, who aided by the Watford Wall, launched a counter attack innings that reminded be of Matt Prior in his prime and took the game away from Sri-Lanka in the hour before lunch. Bairstow has had a stop start beginning to his Test career and didn’t necessarily convince to begin with, but it seems like he now feels he belongs in the International arena and is backing that up with some serious performances to match. There have been some interjections that England should move him up to number 5 to accommodate a specialist wicket keeper (me included), but in hindsight I think it’s probably right to leave him where he is for now. Batting at 7 with the tail and often against the new ball is a specialist position and Bairstow seems to thrive on having the licence to attack at number 7.

A small word too for Alex Hales who fell short of his century after what can only be described as a fairly ugly shot. Whilst he didn’t make it through to three figures, I think he deserves some credit for battling through on what looked like a difficult pitch to bat on. I would like to see some more attacking intent from him, but it does look like he has worked on his game since the South Africa series and his footwork when playing outside of off stump looked far more assured. Is he the opener that we’ve been looking for, I’m not so sure, but I think he deserves the rest of the summer to try and cement his place.

A final note is reserved for the bowlers and especially James Anderson. Anderson is now touching on 34, a youngster in my book, but a veteran in cricketing terms. He seems to thrive in conditions such as the ones served overhead today and he bowled with great control throughout the whole innings. The ball that got rid of Shanaka was a typical example of how to bowl with favourable overhead conditions and was a trademark Jimmy wicket. There doesn’t seem to be another Anderson type bowler coming through the ranks, which must serve as a worry when he finally decides to hang up his boots.

On a side note it also the start of the “mediocre” T20 blast tonight with Essex vs. the ‘South London massive’ live on Sky. Now whatever you think of the English T20 competition (there are those that think it’s great and those who want a Franchise competition to replace it), I’m not sure it’s great form for the Chairman of the ECB to label it mediocre, especially when the organisation he works for is far less competent than mediocre. I’m sure his friends from Sky will have called him last night and tomorrow it will be world beating again, either that or he’ll be locked back in his cupboard for another year!

Anyway Day 3 comments below and with any luck you may get LCL back tomorrow so you don’t have to put up with my drivel.

Have a good evening.

Sean B

Update – Day 3 Comments below….



80 thoughts on “England vs. Sri Lanka – Day 2

  1. Metatone May 20, 2016 / 7:19 pm

    I wonder about the economics of all this. Early season Tests up North are asking for trouble with rain. Throw in opposition vulnerable to the moving ball and Yorks are going to be 2 days out of pocket at least.

    Now I don’t expect any other counties to weep for Yorks or Durham per se, but in the context of the comparisons with a full Lords, I think it’s something to keep an eye on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B May 20, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      I think you’re probably right there. Durham have been sold a pup, no doubt. Yorkshire have done well to fill most of the ground through good marketing and sensible prices, if I could’ve made it up there this week, I’d have probably gone.

      I wonder if the decision to hold the Lords Test back is in the hope of guaranteeing better weather? Lords will always sell out on Days 1-3 due to the hooray Henry brigade and it will cost far less money to reimburse those tests up North if it is a 3 day game.

      I think the ECB is hedging its bets on London again, wrongly in my view, but when did the ECB last do something that wasn’t motivated by their bank balance?


      • LordCanisLupus May 20, 2016 / 8:22 pm

        Think the Lord’s test might be held back to get the new Warner Stand up and running. May be wrong.


      • fred May 20, 2016 / 9:19 pm

        Is London weather better than Yorkshire weather in early summer? Is there a factual meteorological basis to say you should play further south early in the season? It would seem to make sense, but it’s only a few hundred kms, and weather is extremey variable so maybe London would be no more reliable in May. It seems silly to send teams north so early, but maybe London is no better.
        Seems to work out well for Anderson in any event.


      • fred May 20, 2016 / 9:22 pm

        “Think the Lord’s test might be held back to get the new Warner Stand up and running. May be wrong.”
        That’s not fair, it should be called The Australia Stand. In fact, just rename the place Gabba II.


      • nonoxcol May 20, 2016 / 10:22 pm

        It may only be about 180 miles from Leeds to London but the short answer is yes, there is a difference. For reasons of geography as much as latitude. Once you get to north Derbyshire, you are in a very different environment, landscape and weather system.
        Also, we never played regular Tests in May until 2000. I would imagine there was an obvious reason why we didn’t, but the administrators decided they knew better. The north of England has had considerably more than its fair share of those May Tests, by the way.


      • Zephirine May 20, 2016 / 10:26 pm

        Fred, it isn’t any better in London. May is just extremely variable in the whole of the UK, it can be lovely but more often is damp and chilly in the evenings.


      • Zephirine May 20, 2016 / 10:30 pm

        Ha, well, I won’t argue with NonOx, no doubt it’s even worse in the North 🙂


      • nonoxcol May 20, 2016 / 10:37 pm

        I was thinking about the Pennines, high ground in general and whatever other factors that seem to condemn Manchester and everything north of the moors/M62 corridor to the worst weather (albeit not at the extreme like the flood plains in recent years). Personally, as a veteran of Sheffield and the Peaks, I think there’s a noticeable difference even 35 miles north of me.


      • fred May 20, 2016 / 10:43 pm

        “For reasons of geography as much as latitude. Once you get to north Derbyshire, you are in a very different environment, landscape and weather system.”
        So, I assume you agree that May tests would be better placed in London than the north, based on weather patterns. Why not open the season at Lords then, and go north later? I can’t see who would lose with that program.


      • fred May 20, 2016 / 10:49 pm

        I know, anyone who makes definitive statements about May is tempting fate. Packing away your coat on 31 April is just asking for trouble.
        I just thought if you were playing the odds, you’d play cricket as south as you could in May, But then even Paris is drenched in rain in May so what chance does London have?


      • Rooto May 21, 2016 / 10:30 am

        Listening to a bit of TMS this morning, and Agnew is agreeing that London should perhaps be getting more of the early season action. What I thought was going to be a rant against upstarts such as Glamorgan getting tests (not my opinion!), when he started talking about “tradition being ripped up”, actually turned out to be a moan about the northern May tests being too extreme for tourists. His idea was to bring the Oval test forward, seeing as, in his words “the ECB has already ripped up the tradition”.

        BTW, excellent post Sean. Thanks. I trust the write-ups here more than the MSM for those days like yesterday when I saw and heard nothing of play.


        • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 10:46 am

          I was once advised that as part of the debt financing for the OCS Stand, Surrey had to get a covenant approved for the loan that meant they have a late summer test until sometime into the next decade. The ECB agreed it (but might not have for other grounds). File that under “some bloke told me” and with appropriate health warnings on that info!

          Why should The Oval, an absolute dead-cert money spinner have to do this? Southampton should be used. But wherever you are in the UK, at this time of year, it ain’t going to be like Colombo / Dhaka / etc.


    • alecpaton May 20, 2016 / 7:55 pm

      The ECB provides insurance against days lost to rain.

      The best thing to happen to Yorkshire cricket will be if the day’s play is called off at around 4 pm tomorrow, once the entire western stand is completely shit faced. Provided Sri Lanka make it all the way to over 29 on Sunday, Yorks should come out of this match ahead.


      • alecpaton May 22, 2016 / 4:34 am

        Yeah, which idiot thought it was a good idea for Alastair Cook to enforce the follow on?

        (FYI: This idiot)


  2. sgtcookieblog May 20, 2016 / 7:20 pm

    It’s not drivel at all, Sean…. Oh wait on, I’ve just re read the bit about…. Just kidding. Never mind Matt Prior, that Jonny B scored 140 out of 206 ish makes him a massive cheese. Jonny Brie! Ooh, sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark May 20, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    Well done Sean, good overview of the day. Dmitri has got another second change bowler when he needs to go off down to third Man for a rest.

    As for today, all very predictable I’m afraid. I said this morning I doubted Sri Lanka would get 250. They didn’t even make 100 let alone 150. It was’t rocket science. They are a very inexperienced batting outfit, and in these sort of conditions ( we saw what happened to the Aussies last year when the ball starts to move around.) unplayable.

    Anderson has been the best in the business at that discipline when the conditions are right. You can’t blame the England bowlers for doing their job. Anderson and Broad have had to bowl on flat, gun barrel straight wickets over seas so they are going to take full advantage. I would like to see Sri Lanka play on some flatter wickets before making bigger judgements.

    As for the future of test cricket, inexperienced teams coming here in May for Northern test matches that will end in 3 days is not a model for bringing back people to the game. Prices will have to be set accordingly. And if the games will not get to the forth day you wonder how viable they will become. I wonder how many people will watch the bash tonight on TV as to the test match today?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 9:18 am

      Phil (who I really like and has written on here) saying I was looking through rose-tinted specs at the 90s and early 2000s surely must think I have a point. This Sri Lankan team may have little experience of cold old England, but they have to be able to put up a better fist of it than that batting performance. They’ve had some of these players in the side for a couple of years, and yet Silva (24 tests), Chandimal (25 tests), Thirrimane (23 tests, made his debut here in 2011) and Karunaratne (25 tests) all flopped. These aren’t test players being given a chance, they are the best they appear to have. I know it’s tough following Sanga, Mahela and Sanath, but they had some pretty decent other players to call on too. That’s the worry about depth of the long-form international game. Well done England for stamping their feet on them, but I’m not sure this is doing much good for the long-term prospects of the long-form game.

      Still, I shouldn’t care because England are winning. So do carry on.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Grenville May 20, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    Am I wrong in thinking that this is Anderson’s best return by a country mile at Headingley? My, shoddy, memory recalls James A. been surprisingly rubbish in Yorkshire.

    I’ve seen about 3 balls of this game (including Herath’s dismissal to a thing of beauty).


    • Grenville May 20, 2016 / 9:21 pm

      And, lo and behold, a quick read of the cricinfo report confirms my impression. Embarrassing for me.


  5. fred May 20, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    I must say, I’m a bit disappointed to see SL batting be eviscerated today, but it’s an old story really. Turning up to cold England in May and playing a swing bowler in overcast conditions on a sluggish pitch is challenging for anyone. Add to that the recent retirements SL have had, it was never going to be pretty.
    I remember the charming Mr Gayle saying test cricket was dead a while back, I think he was in the middle of a Durham test in May at the time.
    In the end, I don’t care if SL get steamrollered, the point is that they compete, that they get the support that the tour brings (publicity-wise and financial), and that they grow their cricket. Anyway, it’s only day two of the series.
    I love the way it’s panning out for Alistair Cook and the ECB too, at this rate the 10k milestone can be milked throughout the summer, coming to a glorious climax sometime in August.


  6. Julie May 20, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    Well, England, Anderson and Broady have got their Ego trip again. If Aussies couldn’t do it and I was there just getting totally frustrated with all the other Aussies who had travelled over there to see some “cricket” then I’m sure Sri Lanka can’t. If they continue to play there at this time of year all you can think is “GIANT EGO TRIP” Real cricket doesn’t matter.


    • fred May 20, 2016 / 10:30 pm

      It is real cricket Julie. It’s English cricket. Part of the game.
      Of course Anderson will be praised to the skies again and promoted as the best bowler in the world, (and the rest of the world will snigger), but it’s true he does really well in English conditions.
      If you followed the last AUS tour to England I can only sympathise, (but not too much because I’m sure you had alot of fun along the way.) But conditions in England are very foreign for most teams and it’s not surprising if they get rolled, especially on stodgy pitches with an atmosphere you could swim through. It’s still cricket.
      Searching my memory to understand why SA did so well last time they toured, when Alma scored about 1 000 000 000 runs before they dismissed him. English condtions are very foreign for SAF too, maybe the secret is just to have many brilliant players in your team. Which AUS didn’t have last time, and SL certainly doesn’t have today.

      Liked by 1 person

    • fred May 20, 2016 / 11:02 pm

      and another thing. It wasn’t just SL who struggled with this pitch. Even England’s finest were in trouble, and they didn’t exactly boss the game. How did they get to a reasonable score? Through the services of a local boy. It’s Bairstow’s home ground. He found a way where nobody else in England could, except Hales. Not even Captain Fantastic. Sticky wicket. Home ground advantage.


    • SimonH May 21, 2016 / 8:56 am

      “why SA did so well last time they toured”.

      Indeed it was mainly because they were a fantastic team – but they were also the late summer tourists (First Test started on July 19th) and they won at the Oval and Lord’s (as Australia did) while not having matches at England’s fortresses like Edgbaston and TB. England have lost only one of the last ten at the former (against SA in 2008) and two of the last twelve at the latter.


  7. escort May 20, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    I again didn’t catch much of the game today but I did hear this great passage of commentary from Love Joy who was talking about the late Tony Cozier. He said Tony had a great knowledge of the game and its politics and that he wasn’t scared to call players out even if it was the captain.

    Just about every thing that Love joy isn’t then really!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ian May 21, 2016 / 8:41 am

    Don’t you remember Lovejoy saying England had no chance at the World Cup?


  9. LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 8:56 am

    First of all, thanks to Sean for the match report. I think “preparing for my holiday” is a wonderful euphimism up there with “Difficult Winter”. I was on a Friday night escapade that went on too long. I’m sure you all find that hard to believe.

    Sean, as you might have noted, has his own log in now, so posts appear under his own name.

    Now, I noted a lot of you hooked on to Peter Hayter’s column about Cook’s career being out of the movies. The article isn’t that teeth-itching. But Peter, was our 3-0 series win in 2013 against Australia really “against all the odds”? And Peter, there are more than one of us who criticised Alastair Cook outside of Piers Morgan.

    More interesting to me was Chris Stocks piece on Compton. I find myself in a quandary. I think people should write what they feel, and Stocks doesn’t hold back. But this piece really goes at him, and I mean really! There have been England batsmen with technical flaws and succumbed to pressure in the past, but this is getting to be, one might say, personal.

    There are “comments from former high-profile Englang batsman” and “Another well respected cricket mind with links to the England dressing room” (put your money on who that might be) making statements.

    Meanwhile on a bogged down debut score of 9, Vince is going to be promoted to number 3.

    Look, I get it. Compton is probably not the long-term answer but I can’t remember an England player getting this sort of treatment since the bad old days. They are going back and besmirching his county career, which they never did with Ramps or Hick because they’d look dumb. It’s almost as if him being in the England team is an affront.

    What do you think?

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol May 21, 2016 / 9:30 am

      Completely agreed. It stinks. Lovejoy, renember, started on him even during the Durban Test.

      Regardless of anyone else in the side, I still find England completely impossible to love, and part of it is the stench around the ECB media nexus. Cannot see it changing.


      • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 9:36 am

        He made two test hundreds in New Zealand. It’s not the absolute top drawer, but not many others were covering themselves in glory on that tour. He did his job. I wasn’t convinced he was a long-term answer, and wasn’t surprised he was dropped, because KP had to come back for the 2013 series and they were pumping Joe Root for opener. It was obvious he was the odd one out.

        Compton made two centuries, one playing a huge role in digging England out of a hole. He’s made of decent stuff. Lots of players don’t make a test hundred, let alone two, back-to-back. I just don’t get why he’s pilloried so much. No, I don’t think it is down to KP at all. This seems almost more personal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol May 21, 2016 / 9:46 am

        “The Durban-born batsman” makes an appearance as well, I see…


        • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 9:58 am

          Anyone stoked by the fact that if we win this series 3-0, we’ll take a 12-0 lead into the white ball cricket phase, so if it rains in any of those, we’ll be Super Series Champions.

          Get in!


      • jomesy May 21, 2016 / 11:52 am

        Surely it’s Flower driving this? That its nasty is clear, because it contains lies. Compton did NOT play the shot with particularly hard hands.

        Liked by 1 person

      • oreston May 21, 2016 / 2:27 pm

        Funny how it’s OK to point out at every contrived opportunity that an England batsman was “Durban-born”, or (I don’t know…) hails from Pietermaritzburg, but we’re much more seldom reminded about the Johannesburg-born Director, Cricket. It seems that not only do you need to be from the right kind of family, you also need to be the right kind of South African.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine May 21, 2016 / 2:45 pm

        This is the really, really nasty thing about England cricket and the English cricket media – the way one player becomes the person it’s OK to pick on. Then you can say what you like about that person, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, because ‘nobody likes him’.

        It isn’t being ‘harsh but honest’. It’s bullying.

        I wonder if it’s anything to do with the number of public-schoolboys in the game.

        Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 21, 2016 / 10:20 am

      It’s pretty depressing.
      The dressing room stuff reminds me a lot of how Monty was pilloried for not being a drinker.
      And that ended really well for that young man…

      “Division 2 runs seem to be a devalued currency.” Interesting that Stocks didn’t care about that when it was KP & Cook scoring them. To be honest, I actually think that if you don’t have an international record then Div 2 bowling isn’t the best guide, but the inconsistency reeks of malice.

      Vince looks a good prospect, but I’m hardly seeing a cast-iron case that he’s the answer at #3.

      As for the attempt at technical analysis… well, the insistence on a single strategy for batting is childish and frankly looks like it was actually written in advance about Hales & just pivoted because Hales was the only one in the top order not to self-destruct.


  10. andyinbrum May 21, 2016 / 9:11 am

    He’s from the wrong type of family

    3 years on, I’m still getting to use this. English Cricket, never change


    • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 9:29 am

      There’s a really naughty inference from inside the “inner sanctum” in that article. KP is a special case, a force of nature. Leave that aside when it comes to dressing room politics. To cast someone simply as “not good enough” is fine, but in doing so they are also demeaning his character. I just don’t think that is fair. I’m sure there have been tons of intense cricketers who haven’t made it, but none sorted out like this (maybe Trott by some numpties, but he had a top average). I find it odd.

      If someone called Compton comes from the wrong kind of familt


      • Mark May 21, 2016 / 9:53 am

        Only goes to show the complete lies of Strauss when he talks endlessly about trust. Trust does not exist if your face does not fit in the current England dressing room. It’s why I and others on here will never move on. KP was just a symptom of a stinking sewerage system which is still being flushed through a toilet of journalists.

        It also calls into question who runs the England team? Because it seems if certain players are selected that a clique in the dressing room don’t want there is a system to undermine them, and remove them from the team. It is a corrupt system of insiders and jounalists who work together to air brush the team of anyone they don’t agree with. Might as well get rid of the selectors now because it seems others decide who will be in the England team.

        Nothing has changed, the rotten nature of the cabal still exists. And if you don’t fit in with the cool kids you will be removed. Makes you wonder why anyone would want to play for such a shower of shite? It was never just about KP, it goes much deeper than that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B May 21, 2016 / 11:05 am

        Completely agree with Mark, there is still a rotten core to the dressing room and Sheep isn’t going to be the one to sort it out, as he has personal focuses (I.e. The ones that got KP sacked).

        I find it completely distasteful to besmirch someone’s character like they are attempting with Compton at the moment. It seems like preparation from the England management team to justify dropping him.

        Fine, if you don’t rate him then drop him (I personally rate him highly), but don’t do it in such a manner that belittles him as an individual or glosses over a pretty decent county career.

        Liked by 1 person

    • GeneralZod May 21, 2016 / 11:13 am

      Which players are in the clique? I don’t read the media as closely as you guys and I haven’t kept up with who is ‘in with the cool kids’ and who isn’t..?


      • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 11:50 am

        Don’t think he’s fitting in with the Class of 2014. Moeen can be a right tough nut to crack. Ballance is Flower Mk II. And as he doesn’t have Tatts, then he’s not down with Halesy and Stokesy.


      • GeneralZod May 21, 2016 / 12:20 pm

        Hah! But seriously…anyone got any thoughts on who makes up this gang within the team?


  11. Julie May 21, 2016 / 9:13 am

    Well, he is a mate of KP.


    • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 9:41 am

      Nick “bogged down by county bowling” has a first class average of 42. James “stick him at #3” Vince has a first class average of 41.

      Amazing what having plaudits in the press, and high profile agents can do. They can almost make you think that one of them is a mess, the other is the messiah.

      Absolutely nothing against Vince (other than his agents) and hope he goes on to a great career.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) May 21, 2016 / 9:47 am

        It does strike me as though they nigh on have a direct line to some recent members of the coaching staff and indeed some current and former players who were in the side 3 years ago. I will point out that personally, I would have dropped Compton but the depth of antipathy displayed by Stocks is a disgrace, especially in this Stocks article.


        • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 9:52 am

          I had my thoughts on the respected figure with links to the dressing room (there is one obvious one, maybe too obvious), but it also mirrors what Pringle has been saying, so on respected grounds he can’t be that source.

          I have absolutely no problem with forthright views. In many ways Stocks article is fine by me. But it just stinks that this was backed up in the way it was, and that it follows a pattern since the start of that South Africa series which is basically “he’s an oddball, his face doesn’t fit, get shot of him”.

          As NonOX reminded me, Swann was doing it in the middle of his very important knock in Durban. When he was performing.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine May 21, 2016 / 2:48 pm

      I think you may have something there, Julie.


  12. nonoxcol May 21, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Anyway, just thought I would mention that I am in a Leeds hotel. Not for the Test, just the morning after a nostalgic Manics gig.

    Low-lying cloud everywhere I look, much of it greyish. Some blue sky to the north, where the ground is.


  13. Burly May 21, 2016 / 10:06 am

    I think I jumped the gun by sneering at our media’s lack of respect for Sri Lanka… they just got the wrong discipline. Bowling good, batting very bad.

    Lots of shots that didn’t need to be played, but that’s what good swing bowling does to you.


  14. Mark May 21, 2016 / 10:11 am

    I didn’t read the Peter Hayter article (why would you waste your time?) but If he is now in the business of re writing history he has also become a fake cricket journalist. To claim that Englands 2013 Ashes win was “against all the odds” shows an ignorance or more likely a toadying up to the England regime.

    Australia arrived here in total disarray. They had just had the fiasco of the SA tour where players had been sent home and the famous ” homework” had been pushed on the players. Within days of touching down the coach was sacked, and the new coach employed. England were odds on favourites. A certain England player of yesteryear in the Sky commentary box predicted a 10-0 score line for the two back to back ashes series. England performed averagely. They were saved by bad weather and KP at Manchester, and lost the first two days at Durham. Only for Broad to swing the match around in one evening session.

    The 3-0 score line flattered England. Not becuase they were underdogs, but because they didn’t play very well for long periods. Sad to Hayter having to sing for his supper by writing such drivel.


    • dlpthomas May 21, 2016 / 11:31 am

      Didn’t Dobell also predict 10 – 0?


      • Mark May 21, 2016 / 12:18 pm

        Quite likely he did.

        The point being ENGLAND was seen as strong favourates for the series. So for Hayter to try and pretend otherwise is stupid.


        • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 12:24 pm

          Let’s take the full quote, to make sure I’m not misinterpreting:

          “After having led his side to their third Ashes win on the trot in the summer, against all the odds, and with Pietersen at his side, Cook’s next personal milestone of 100 Test caps is overshadowed by the destruction of England’s hopes of making it a fab four….”

          I’m not entirely sure what is against all the odds – us losing in Australia (?) or beating them that summer. I really don’t know.


      • Mark May 21, 2016 / 12:41 pm

        I have not a scoobie what he is trying to say. Is he saying the 2013 series was against the odds? Or is he saying the away series was against the odds? Whatever, it’s not very clear.

        Still think he is saying the home series in 2013 is against the odds.


  15. nonoxcol May 21, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Agnew kicking the ECB for scheduling Tests in the north in May right now!


    • Mark May 21, 2016 / 10:23 am

      Fair play to Mr Agnew he also showed a suspicion of the ludicrous new points system that Strauss is hawking around.

      Speaking of which, if England win this test series will they have to delay the presentation until the ODIs are completed?


  16. hatmallet May 21, 2016 / 11:44 am

    On Compton, I think criticism of his intensity is fair to an extent – there have been times where it has visibly affected his batting.

    However, the stuff about him having few friends in the dressing room, which may well be true, is just irrelevant.


    • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 11:48 am


      Yes. To an extent, but this is on another level to anything seen since, possibly, Ramps.

      It’s a horribly cheap point, but Vince has just dropped a routine slip catch (and not much is routine there) which if it had been Compton would have been used against him. You could rely on it.


      • hatmallet May 21, 2016 / 11:53 am

        Yes, it would be fine if it was just criticism of how his intensity weakens his batting. But that the necessary, overly-personal criticisms are there too is a clear sign that a lot of people don’t want him there without good reason.


      • hatmallet May 21, 2016 / 11:55 am

        And yes, shocker from Vince – those have to be taken every time.


    • Mark May 21, 2016 / 11:58 am

      The Elephant in the room here is the captain. We have a media that fawns at everything he says, and sits at his feet like lap dogs slavishly waiting for any scraps to eat up.

      If he tells the current media to back off, judging by their obediant behaviour of the last 3 years they will willingly comply. So one can only assume he is happy with the coverage his player is getting?

      Trouble is we have seen this movie before. Not just with KP. As for Compton, he is doomed. Even if he scores runs there will always be a “yes, but………” It’s only a matter of time before another one of Flowers drones replaces him.


  17. SimonH May 21, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    This SL batting line-up’s record outside Asia:

    Karunaratne 10 Tests 30.5 average 1 century
    Silva 6 Tests 23.3 average 0 centuries
    Mendis 3 Tests 35.6 average 0 centuries
    Chandimal 8 Tests 41.4 average 0 centuries
    Mathews 13 Tests 36.0 average 2 centuries
    Thirimanne 8 Tests 24.0 average 0 centuries

    There’s already some bleating along the “whoever England beat, you always say it’s because they’re no good” but this is a team lacking both in batting quality and experience.

    SL – given their small size, internal strife, relative poverty and wretched governance (their own sports’ minister reckoned the cricket board the third most corrupt body in the country) – pulled off a minor miracle to find one very good generation of batsmen (Aravinda De Silva, Ranatunga et al) and replace it almost immediately with another even better. It can’t be a surprise that that wouldn’t be repeated a third time.

    It should go without saying that slashing their funding was not exactly going to help.


    • Mark May 21, 2016 / 12:23 pm

      The ECB/ big 3 take over policy has helped create this situation. The long form of the game is in big trouble because of the lack of money, and opportunities for the non big 3 to improve.

      The “rah rah rah it’s England winning, so stop complaining” brigade seem completely ignorant of the dumbing down process they are helping to bring to test match cricket.


    • hatmallet May 21, 2016 / 3:25 pm

      Quite a few of them have good domestic records.

      Karunaratne averages 47 in FC cricket with 24 centuries. Chandimal 50 with 15. Silva 47 with 34. Thirimanne 42 with 14. Mathews 52 with 16. Shanaka’s average of 38 is good for an all-rounder. Mendis is an odd one – 1 professional century and he’s batting at 3!

      But of course, these conditions are very alien to them. I’m sure some of the players would really benefit from some County Championship cricket. Have any of them played?

      An idea that’s just come to mind, which may be nonsense… if the ICC were really serious about helping out the smaller, poorer nations, could they subsidise wages to get players a stint in a foreign domestic first-class competition?


      • SimonH May 21, 2016 / 4:23 pm

        Any idea what the standard of SL domestic cricket is like? Not “all that”, I’d surmise.

        Of course all batsmen except Bairstow, and to a lesser extent Hales, have struggled in this match. Before their last tour, Sanga had a stint in the CC. I’d think only Mathews would stand a chance of getting a CC gig and he’s had niggling leg injuries for a while now.

        There’s just no way to pretend this isn’t a weak SL batting line-up. NZ rolled them over in the winter with the same attack that was massacred by Australia. They lost at home to Pakistan and India in an era when home advantage is a massive factor. Karunaratne, Silva and Thirimanne have played over twenty Tests each so it isn’t as if they are novices.

        Chandimal is a good player but he’s at least a place too high in the order, has to keep wicket as well and as a strokemaker is being exposed to the newish ball.

        ” if the ICC were really serious about helping out the smaller, poorer nations….”. They aren’t.

        It’s like watching some Champions League group match where some mega-bucks team from a mega-bucks league massacre a team from one of the smaller leagues. Who wants to watch this?


      • d'Arthez May 21, 2016 / 5:07 pm

        Well, “massacred” by Australia, maybe in New Zealand.

        Do not forget that one umpire basically (Llong) gave the series to Australia in Australia with a plain wrong call. If an Aussie brings up Stuart Broad not walking, just point out that Lyon did not walk either.

        Also, if the ECB were that serious about helping smaller nations, would it not be nice if players from Associates were even allowed to play in the CC? Currently, they’re not allowed to, unless they have a passport from a Full Member nation.

        I advocated years ago that it would help if players from Associate Nations would not count as foreigners if they were to play in domestic competitions – IPL included. It is not like Derbyshire would hire the whole Nepal or Afghanistan cricket teams. Also, it would make it less attractive to Full Members to poach any player with a hint of promise.


      • SimonH May 21, 2016 / 5:33 pm

        D, I said that it was NZ’s attack that was massacred.

        Outside of the D/N Test, Australia’s 1st innings’ scores (made with a less than all-time great batting line-up) were; 556-4d, 559-9d, 562 and 505.

        Massacre seems a fair description of that run of scores to me!


      • d'Arthez May 21, 2016 / 6:19 pm


        It is not like New Zealand crumbled over and died in the 2015 series in Australia.

        They were woefully underprepared in the first Test, and lost that by a landslide. True enough. But that happens a lot to touring sides these days, with short preparation periods to settle in. Home advantage is a big factor these days, even more so than in the past.

        Perth was a high scoring draw, and New Zealand making 624 in the first innings does not suggest that the Aussie quicks had great bowling conditions either. That Test probably could have gone on for 8 days if it was a timeless Test. There was nothing in it for the bowlers throughout.

        And the same New Zealand attack that was supposedly massacred nearly drew the series – if only Llong had made the right call in the D/N Test. Strolling home by 3 wickets, when a lot of free runs (and valuable batting time!) had been given to the home side does not suggest the attack was that incompetent.

        The real disappointing series from a NZ perspective was at home. New Zealand never got going in that one.


  18. Benny May 21, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    Late again. You’ve done a fine job Sean.

    If there are cliques and bitching inside the England dressing room, someone is not doing their highly paid management job properly.

    I read on cricinfo that Anderson said he and Broad decided after 9 years they should switch ends at Headingley and reaped the rewards. NINE YEARS! Isn’t that rather a long time to delay switching brain on?


    • Mark May 21, 2016 / 2:20 pm

      I don’t think there are big divisions in the dressing room, but certain players seem to decide who they like and who they won’t accept. And it seems to have little to do with cricket skill. It may only be one player who’s face doesn’t fit,but that’s enought for the character assassination we see in the media.

      It’s a two way street as well. Other players NEVER get criticised. I blame the media for playing this dupicitous role. I guess it means the players might come to your birthday party if you are a good little lap dog.


      • GeneralZod May 21, 2016 / 6:40 pm

        But who are these certain players?


  19. escort May 21, 2016 / 2:30 pm

    Things are on the up now for James Taylor, he’s on commentary with Mike Atherton.


    • Benny May 21, 2016 / 3:46 pm

      He’s doing OK. Wouldn’t it be nice if Sky had a “new era”?


      • LordCanisLupus May 21, 2016 / 3:55 pm

        Got to be a number of spots up for grabs for the BT Sport Ashes coverage at the end of next year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Escort May 21, 2016 / 7:56 pm

        He was very biased I thought but I guess if he’s a permanent fixture he will get better.


  20. fred May 21, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    SL got rolled in 36.4 overs in their first innings. That number had a familiar ring to it, so I looked it up, but alas it wasn’t to be. Sydney 2014 Ashes, ENG got rolled in 31.4. They didn’t get as far as 36 overs.


  21. d'Arthez May 21, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    Well, will be interesting to see if the BCCI sticks to its “village road policy”, with regards to wickets when England come and visit. It works for them (Jadeja’s average with the ball in India is 15, outside of India it is 45). They might be even tempted to play 4 spinners then. But then of course the MSM will be complaining that these are unfair wickets. That the players have not much experience of playing on such wickets etc.

    Funny how such defences will not be given to Sri Lanka’s performance – and funny how no one bothers to ask how good Sri Lanka’s batting is. Honestly, I can’t see this Sri Lanka side win many series at home either.

    In fact, Sri Lanka have lost their most recent assignments against South Africa (2014), Australia (2011), India (2015) and Pakistan (2015). England (2012, and who was the standout batsman then?) and New Zealand (2012) drew – with Sanga and Mahela Jayawardene. The only “Big” side they have beaten at home is West Indies. West Indies, who have won all of 1 Test on the road since 2001 (excluding Bangladesh).


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